We Are Moved by Powerful Social Currents

And they control us far more than we control them. We ignore this at our peril.

At my age (79) I can look back and see how some of these currents shaped my family’s life – especially my father’s life. The biggest event in his early life was the Great Depression – a very powerful social current that did a lot of people in. He survived by joining the Marine Corp – that gave him plenty of opportunity to run some small businesses – some of them not too ethical. He saved all his money, send it home to his mother – and when he went back, he bought a business, a photography studio.

It didn’t make much money, it was still the Depression – but WWII turned it into a gold mine. This was the powerful social current of my parent’s generation. It send down a lot of ships, but those that survived did very well. I benefited from the economy that resulted in the next 20 years – a college education cost little, and jobs were plentiful. Anyone who amounted to anything had a new car and a new home in the suburbs.

But now there were many photographers – and Dad’s studio went out of business. He started new businesses – but the era of the small business (including the family farm) was over – and he gradually faded away and died before reaching 60. This was the fate of many small businesses (and businessmen) – and it shocked me. No one else noticed.

They knew the post-war boom was over – and everyone had to adapt to this. That current had died, and was not going to be resurrected.

It was replaced by the Cold War – but that is another story.


One thought on “We Are Moved by Powerful Social Currents

  1. “We Are Moved by Powerful Social Currents”

    This may be the single most important sentiment facing our present moment in time, I believe. I’ve only a fraction of your time on this Earth (26 years), but I see the danger of an isolating mindset.We are not islands and the world around us, the communities and their frames profoundly affect us and the potential of our lives. There is, in my view, a surge of far-too-individualist emphasis on personal responsibility and blaming the victims of poor fortune.

    When an economy crashes, a person may lose their job even though they were a diligent labourer. When it prospers, a rising tide a man might explain by personal virtue and gumption may actually just be a successful community effectively investing in his potential. Thank you for sharing.

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